How to Write a Video Script in 8 Steps.

Whether you’re filming a blockbuster Hollywood movie or creating an effective marketing video, at the core of the project is a well-written, detailed video script.

To make a great video and connect with potential clients, there are some key elements every script needs. Your script should be well-thought-out and detailed. It should also include scene descriptions, dialogue, camera cues, and directions for the cast and crew. Additionally, thinking ahead by including post-production notes will ensure a cohesive, professional-looking finished product.

Here are eight simple steps to create an effective video script.

1. Write a creative brief

Before diving into your script, it’s important to first write a creative brief for your project. It’s tempting to skip this step, but it’s a crucial one. This important document is a collection of information about your audience, marketing goals, and project scope and will keep you on a clear path from your script’s introduction to the end.

A creative brief provides the same context for marketers and their production team, allowing everyone involved in the project to get on the same page. To ensure the video you deliver is what the team has in mind, a creative brief should answer the following:

  • Why are you making the video? What’s the primary business goal of the video? Are you nurturing leads or demonstrating a product feature?
  • What metrics will be used to measure its success? Will they be clicking a link? Signing up for a demo? Who will be in charge of evaluating metrics?
  • What channel will it appear on? Will it be shared on social media only? Where your video will appear affects the length, purpose, length, and tone.
  • Who’s going to see it? Who’s your audience? What’s their customer persona? What stage are they in the sales funnel?
  • What topics will your video cover? What will you talk about? Why will the viewers care?
  • How will the video reflect your brand’s personality? What brand traits do you want to display in your video?
  • What’s the right tone for your topic and brand? Will it be lighthearted? Bold and serious? The tone will influence your choice of setting, cast, pace, and type of dialogue for the script.
  • What is the most important thing you’re trying to communicate? What do you want the viewers to learn or feel after watching it? What benefits do you want to highlight?
  • What is the approval process for your video? Who needs to sign off on it for it to be considered complete?
  • What’s the call to action (CTA)? What do you want the viewer to do after they watched the video?

2. Reinforce what you know about your audience

Knowing and understanding your audience will be key to writing your video script. It goes beyond merely understanding the demographics of your potential customers, such as their age, race, gender, education, employment, income, and location.

Key psychographics—the viewer’s values, lifestyles, attitudes, and aspirations—come into play, as well. You need a well-rounded understanding of your audience before scripting your video.  

Are you looking for an expert with that kind of knowledge to help script your video? Ndiwano.com has the largest pool of proven, remote scripting specialists who can write a script with your target audience in mind.

Are you looking for an expert with that kind of knowledge to help script your video? Ndiwano.com has the largest pool of proven, remote scripting specialists who can write a script with your target audience in mind.

List of demographics + examples:

  • Age. What’s the age of your target audience? You’ll use very different language and storytelling techniques if you’re gearing your message toward a 6-year-old than you would if you were trying to reach a 60-year-old.
  • Location. Location also plays an important role in your video script. Depending on the geographic data of your target audience—such as city, state, or country—your video script may look a little different. For example, if you’re trying to target city dwellers, you wouldn’t want to incorporate farm visuals in your video script.
  • Gender (or how they identify). It’s important to avoid gender biases in your video. At the same time, some men and women may engage with videos in different ways, so keep your target audience in mind as you craft your video script.   
  • Salary. Understand the salary range of your potential customers and how that relates to the price point of the services or goods you’re selling.

List of psychographics + examples

  • Personality. You want the personality of your video script to align with the personality of your potential customers. If they tend to be lighthearted and fun, you don’t want to create a somber, serious video.
  • Lifestyle. Understanding your audience’s lifestyle will also ensure you’re reaching the right people. For instance, if you’re selling supplements, you’ll want to target someone concerned about their health.  
  • Interests. Understanding your customers’ interests is also key when writing a video script. For example, if you’re selling audio equipment, you’ll want to target customers interested in music, gaming, or a similar hobby.
  • Opinions. When writing your video script, also keep in mind the opinions of potential customers. You want your consumer base to know where they stand in relation to your business.
  • Values. Personal values also come into play for shoppers. For example, someone who is vegan won’t be interested in a leather purse.

Know your audience’s language:

Once you know your audience, this will affect everything about your message, from your tone and the words you use in your video script. How you try to communicate with an audience of twenty-somethings interested in an active, healthy lifestyle should be different from how you try to reach an older audience of empty nesters.

If you tried to use the same language for different audience segments, they would respond in different ways—and not necessarily the way you’d like. So, it’s important to tailor the language of your message to your target audience.

3. Home in on the overarching message

Whether you call it a mission or a message, your brand should focus on key takeaways to communicate with your target audience. The more consistent you are with your messaging, the more recognizable you are to customers.

As you communicate your brand’s message when writing your video script, it’s important to consider the following elements:

Mission statement

Your brand’s mission statement expresses who your company is, its purpose, and its objective. This will also determine the types of stories your brand tells in its videos and how you tell these stories.

Company values

Like your mission, your company’s core values will drive its actions and how it reaches its audience. These values should influence how your video script is written.

For example, is inclusivity and diversity important to your company? Make sure that’s reflected in your script by including characters and actors from different backgrounds and cultures. Is your company family-friendly? Write that into your script to show how families can connect with and benefit from your brand.

Brand personality

Your brand’s personality should align with the characteristics of your target audience and be reflected in your explainer video. For example, does your brand pride itself on its humor? Then, you don’t want to create a serious video that doesn’t accurately portray your company.

Or maybe your brand is selling an active lifestyle. Therefore, you wouldn’t want to create an explainer video featuring someone sitting behind a desk. Instead, you’d want to feature individuals living that active lifestyle.

Reflect your brand voice while creating a message

Once you understand your company’s mission, values, and personality, you can craft a message using your unique brand voice. This includes the language you use in the video script, the content you select, and how you choose to share your story.

Create a message that resonates with your audience

If you want your video messaging to impact viewers, it should reflect these three qualities:

  • Relatable. The message and story you convey should be relatable to your viewers so that consumers can imagine themselves using your services or goods.
  • Memorable. The message you send should be memorable. You want consumers to recall your brand when they need goods or services in your realm. You also want them to share your company’s message with their friends and family.
  • Consistent. Consistency is key. This could mean being consistent in your marketing initiatives and messaging. Being consistent helps consumers recognize your brand. The quality of your company’s offerings needs to be consistent, as well.

4. Identify key visual elements to help tell your story

As you create your video, make sure you value the importance of having key visual elements that match your script settings. These elements can be used to elevate your company’s message and convey your brand identity to consumers.

The following video principles should be incorporated into your video script:

Focal points

Once you understand the key message of your video, determine a visual focal point to drive that idea home. The focal point should be an integral image of your video, one that you’ll want to catch the eye of your viewer during the entire time they’re watching it.

As you write your script, keep this focal point in mind. You’ll want the focal point to be the product or service you’re selling or your brand logo. When writing your script, incorporate your product or service into all or most key scenes in some way.

Repetition and rhythm

These are two simple visual elements that can capture the interest of viewers. The repetition of visual elements, themes, and ideas around your message reinforces your brand’s identity. The rhythm of how these elements is repeated with variations creates a more natural and engaging flow to your brand’s messaging.

To incorporate rhythm into your video, plan pauses in your script to give viewers more time to reflect on the message your company is trying to convey and better understand your brand.


Contrasting images—images that are different from one another—work together to create a compelling video and message.

For example, if a company sells car insurance, images that might evoke a response from viewers would be a car accident and the stress that comes from that contrasted by a car insurance agent easing the stress and concerns of those in the accident.


The way you use space to display images, colors, and text can create a sense of balance for your viewers, which affects their emotional response to your messaging.

As an example, if your video includes text, you want the font, color, and size of the text to flow well with the other visuals included. Your script should also include an ideal time and space for text to appear on screen.

Visual hierarchy

As you write your video script, determine which elements you want to display and rank them from most important to less essential. Creating a visual hierarchy will help you emphasize the images integral to your message.

There are various ways to create this visual hierarchy—size, placement in a scene, and color. For example, if you want a viewer to pay attention to a main character, have them wear a brighter color and surround them with background actors wearing more muted hues so that the eye automatically goes to your main character. Costume color choices can be noted in your video script.


Another important visual aspect to consider for your video project is proportion, which refers to the relationship between the different elements used from the perspective of size. If the proportion isn’t right, your entire project could be ruined.

Proportion is used to create depth in a shot, a sense of realism, or even drama in a scene. At the same time, the proportion of specific items, individuals, or even body parts can be intentionally skewed or exaggerated in size to enhance the meaning of your video.  

For instance, if you’re writing a script for an over-the-counter (OTC) cold medication, you might write a character who begins the video with a cartoonishly large and irritated-looking nose. Then, after they take the cold medicine, it can shrink to a proportionate size.

5. Write a draft outline of the script

Once you’ve done your research, create the first draft of your video script. This starting point should incorporate everything you’ve learned about your target audience and what your brand wants to convey as its message and personality.

Writing is hard work. Give yourself plenty of time to write and rewrite a video script once you know the dates you’ll be filming. And remember, your first draft is just that.

You won’t want to run with the initial script.

Ask everyone involved with the shoot to review your draft. From there, you can cut out the fluff and make amendments to the script based on feedback.

If you have trouble scripting your video project, though, Ndiwano.com can help. Get started with an independent scripting specialist who has the skills and experience you need.

If you still need some help working through the writing process, here are a few tips:

  • Work on your video script every day. Make time to write every day. Just get something on the page. You can always go back and rework your material. Writing something is better than writing nothing.
  • Find a quiet space to avoid distractions. If you have difficulty writing, find a quiet room or other space to work, somewhere free of distractions that keep you from completing your script.
  • Take breaks to keep the creativity flowing. If you find yourself reaching a point that you have trouble moving past, considering taking a break. Grab a bite to eat. Exercise. Work on something else. Sometimes, stepping away from a project for a brief period can refresh your mind and get the creativity flowing again.
  • Display a board with notes about your project. Some people work better with visual inspiration. Establishing a board in the space where you work is a great way to track your script. You can easily tack on notes at various points in the storyline as a reminder to tweak your work.

6. Do a table read

Once you’ve completed your draft, gather everyone involved in filming—actors, presenters, the director, producers, and others overseeing the project— for a table read.

This table read is an informal reading of a script, including the dialogue, stage directions, voiceover narration, and other key elements. Although this is an informal read-through, it’s important to practice as though you’re filming the script. It’s an opportunity to hear your words aloud, so you can realize which parts work and fine-tune the areas that don’t.

If the dialogue sounds stilted and formal out loud, rewrite it to be more conversational. Think about how you might explain your brand and its message to a friend. You’ll likely speak to them informatively but casually. That’s how you want your dialogue to sound.

7. Make necessary changes

Seeing your words come to life during the table read gives you a chance to make changes to your script for an even better end product. It’s common to rework a video script after a read-through. Here are some common areas you might reconsider after a table read:

Character description (who they are/what they look like)

When you initially write your video script, you might know who your character is and what they look like. This could change after a read-through. When you hear the dialogue aloud, you might decide it needs to be punched up with more energy, and you need to change up the character or narrator saying the lines.

Choice words/character dialogue

The language you use to communicate your brand’s message is so important, and the words and dialogue used by your characters and narrators make all the difference. When you hear their words aloud, you’ll know what works and what needs to be changed.

For instance, if you’re writing for the average consumer, make sure your language isn’t too formal. Consider using the word “like” instead of “such as” or “gonna” instead of “going to.”

Character names and personas

Much like your character description, you might decide to change their names or personalities. A name may look good on paper but fall flat when you hear it aloud. And with a name change, you might decide the character’s persona should change completely to make the most sense for the story.

Character inflection (how they read their lines)

How an actor reads their lines and their inflection is just as important as the words being spoken. When a script’s dialogue is read out loud for the first time, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of which words and phrases should be emphasized.

Descriptions of backgrounds and settings

The descriptions of your backgrounds and settings won’t be read out loud during filming, but it helps to hear them during the table read. As they’re read aloud, you may realize you should reimagine and change the setting to make more sense for the story.

Camera directions

Having the camera directions read during your table read can also help you understand if they logistically make sense. It will be helpful having your director hear them as well, as they can help you rewrite and make changes with directions.

Scene transitions

When it comes to scene transitions, what works well on paper doesn’t necessarily work when filming. If a transition feels awkward when you read it out loud, rework that section.

8. Test a few variations

As you write your script’s core draft, create several possible endings to test with an audience. You can organize focus groups and utilize private surveys to share the various endings with your target audience and determine which has the biggest impact on them. Maybe you’ll learn that different versions of your video can be leveraged in different markets and applied to various audiences.

You can also gain feedback on how to improve your videos for a more effective reaction from viewers. You may also be able to roll this information over into future projects.

Bonus video script writing tips:

Here are a few extra tips to keep in mind while writing your video script:

Shorter is better

The length of your script will largely depend on the platform you use to share it and how engaging it is. Generally speaking, though, you can expect to keep your viewers’ attention for up to two minutes. The shorter, the better, though. If your video goes on too long, you’ll lose your audience before it’s over. Make sure your video is succinct and to the point.

Put your main message in the first 30 seconds

It’s a given that viewers have a short attention span and won’t stick around long. That means you want to make a bigger impact early in your video, ideally within the first 30 seconds. Even if a viewer walks away before the video is over, at least they’ll have an idea of what your main message is.

Keep the pace of speech between 125 and 150 words per minute

This may sound noticeably slower than regular speech, but you need to give the voiceover talent time to breathe and allow the information to sink into your viewers’ minds. Rapid speech can overwhelm viewers, reduce their comprehension, and cause them to drop off early.

Add subtitles for greater understanding

Adding subtitles to your video can emphasize important information or even convey all dialogue. Consider these eye-opening stats for compelling reasons to add subtitles to your work:

  • 28 million Americans are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • 85% of Facebook videos are watched on mute.
  • 91% of viewers are more engaged with subtitles.
  • Videos with subtitles generate 26% more CTA click-throughs.

CTAs can appear anywhere

While most CTAs appear at the end of a video, they can be just as effective if they appear within the first third of your video or even in the middle. Consider testing areas where there are a natural pause and logical opportunity to add a text CTA.

You don’t need to be the expert

Writing a high-quality video script takes planning and time, but you don’t need to have all the talent in-house to create an amazing video. Remote talent websites like Ndiwano.com make it easy to find highly skilled talent experienced with all stages of video production—from writers to voiceover artists and post-production editors. Or you can hire video producers to take care of the whole production, so you can spend time on other projects.

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